EXERT FROM APPENDIX 1 from Don Featherstone's Battles With Model Soldiers
(The book that got me started.)

"Nothing in these pages is a dictate, no word says you must or you shall do it this way. On the contrary, the book sets out from the very beginning to stimulate the reader to think for himself, and to use what he has read merely as a foundation for efforts and ideas which reflect his own temperament and character. Only in this way will he obtain maximum satisfaction from the hobby of battling with model soldiers."

-Don Featherstone 1918 - 2013

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Incident at N'Haro Pass

NOV 1st, 1841
INCIDENT AT N'HARO PASS

Reports have been received of an unprovoked attack yesterday on Her Majesty's troops in the Origawn Territory. It seems that while on a tour of FTC trading posts, Lord Walts received a terse note declaring that the Faraway troops that accompanied him would not be allowed to proceed. Disdaining to reply let alone turn back, the column proceeded. Our correspondent on the Frontier has posted this report:  
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It was about 10 in the morning when our column, under the immediate command of Colonel Stoneforte, Brevet Brigadier,  entered N'haro Pass. Bearing the previous night's warning in mind, the experienced Frontier Fighters of the FTC DG's Bodyguard led the way,  scanning every rock and hollow where a Bushwhacker might lurk. As we approached the narrowest point of the pass, the signal was given to halt and scouts were sent forward towards several large clumps of lichen adorning a ledge which overlooks the road. The crack of rifles and several puffs of smoke was the response. Our way was to be challenged!

Like a well oiled machine, the Bodyguards fell back as the Wye Fusiliers, the famed Green Tigers, rushed forward and deployed, their new colours flying proudly. In no time at all the ruffians had been driven back and the column proceeded past the sad site of the bodies of 4 young soldiers, lying by the side of the road. 

 The Wye Fusiliers drive the ambushers from Lichen Point while the Voyagers scout up towards a patch of trees, exposing several dummy cards.

As we pushed forward through the pass, the Belmont Fusiliers or Buffs, doubling forward to shield the coach and wagon, I heard some of the experienced officers mutter about the risk about getting so tightly bunched should there be more Oberhilsers in the vicinity. I know there was some muttering about the clubs about the army's most junior Brigade commander being given such an important task but he is a man cast in the same mold as General Turner (literally- ed) and "fortes fortuna adiuuat". 
The crowded pass.

For awhile, it seemed that this dozen or so scruffy frontiersmen (actually it was probably only 10, ed) were all that we faced. The bridge over the South Sloy River could be seen ahead and the road to Roslin and safety beckoned. Suddenly from a ridge ahead, more shots rang out and the grey clad forms of Volunteer rifles could be seen. The Bodyguard had been taking a terrible toll from sniping and that was no ground for a cavalry charge so they dismounted and forming a skirmish line, returned fire.

More foes appear!
With Corporal Blogger and his fellow Horse Guard riding ahead and a column of the Buffs pushing forward on our right, we felt no threat but the carriage ground to a halt while the situation was sorted. Suddenly the road ahead filled with troops,the pale blue of Oberhilse regulars and the wild troopers of the infamous Frontier Horse.

 The trap is well sprung!

It was a bad time for us to lose the initiative! Before they could react, the skirmish line of the Body Guards was ridden down. The Horse Guards who had posted themselves as a reserve, found themselves too close to the action and were forced to draw swords and spur forwards, being caught up in the precipitate retreat of the FTC troopers. With their blood up, the enemy troopers spurred forward in pursuit, scattering the Buffs before they could deploy from their march column and surrounding the Director General's coach.


The Frontier Horse seize the carriage containing the Director General, his wife and Duke Peter. 

All was chaos but Colonel Stoneforte rose to the occasion! Quickly rallying the Buffs, he seized the initiative and led them forward in a wild charge before the Frontier Horse could drive away their prize. True to his last breath, Corporal Blogger spurred forward to join them and rescue those whose safety had been placed in his care. At the same time, Stoneforte ordered the Green Tigers to drive off the enemy skirmishers who were creeping close on the flank. With a brave huzzah the red coated troops stormed forward.

 Colonel Stoneforte rallies the Buffs and gives the order to Charge! 

Alas, fortune does not always favour the bold. Corporal Blogger cut down one of the enemy with a masterful stroke of his broadsword but a rifle bullet threw him from the saddle. The Buffs, their ranks ragged, tangled with the horsemen about the carriage but honours and casualties were even. The melee hung in the balance. Then , as Colonel raised himself in the stirrups, urging his men on, another rifle shot rang out. These Frontier Horsemen are crack shots, born in the saddle and raised as hunters. The Colonel was flung backwards off his horse and the Buffs, gathering him up fell back in dismay. On the hill slopes beyond them the Tigers struggled across the broken ground as the enemy rifles cracked, time and again. Finally as the Buffs behind them gave way, it became too much and they turned and fled pell mell down the hill again.

Too little, too late.

Anxious to prove themselves the Black Horse pressed forward from the rear, but this was no parade ground. The wagon, which had been saved by the charge of the Buffs, still blocked the pass so the big black horses were urged up over the ragged ridge. By the time they had reformed on the flat, the carriage and the enemy horsemen were gone. In their place stood a  resolute square of blue clad infantry while the rifle fire from the hill swept the road. For a moment it looked like the horsemen would throw themselves onto the square but they were the bulwark behind which the army must rally and there was still the vital paychest and records to protect.

Lord Walts confronts his captor, Brigadier Zinn.

The mood around the campfires that night was bleak indeed, the groans of the wounded and maimed mixed with the laments of the men for their failure in the face of the enemy. There was the usual post battle chatter about how the Buffs should have advanced in an attack column, how the carriages ought to have been held back till the way was secured and how we needed more Riflemen on the frontier as musket armed line infantry are no match for riflemen in rough ground. I even heard arguments that the day was really a draw because the Oberhilsers didn't get their hands on Ol' Betsy the steam tractor nor on the gold, but in truth we were bound for Roslin and none of us made it, least of it the Lady and Lords that we had been charged to protect..

The gloom was only slightly lightened when a messenger appeared out of the darkness. Colonel Stoneforte, his wounds bandaged, called the men around and announced that word was received that the Director and Duke Peter were safe and sound and were the guests of the Oberhilse commander for tonight but would rejoin us in the morning.

19 comments:

  1. It reads like it was a black day for the red forces and that they must now be in a blue funk.

    A good report, Ross, and well illustrated too.


    -- Jeff

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  2. Good stuff as always. The Noodle's artist must have worked flat out to get all those full colour paintings ready!

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  3. Exciting game ! , like the hills very old school !.

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  4. Enjoyable action -well, not equally for both sides? :) - and report, and a chivalrous conclusion. 'Lace Wars' in the 19th C.?

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  5. Ross Mac,

    Yet another great battle report!

    Every time I read one of your reports I just want to go and buy some 42mm figures ... and I am having great problems resisting that urge!

    All the bet,

    Bob

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  6. The report was excellent with a lot of enthusiasm. It's sounding like you found a nice balance between rules and what you want from a game.

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  7. Thanks Jeff, oddly Red thought they had this one all wrapped up going in.

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  8. Tim, Actually the Noodle has a room full of painters from Ceylon. Since the terrain and the figures in their illustrations are so similar, there is speculation that they keep a large portfolio of basic battle paintings and just add details at the last moment.

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  9. I am liking the old contour hills myself. I just need to decide on shapes, cut them and paint table and hills to match.

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  10. Chivalrous? Just politics I think. The action was unauthorized but halting the column made their point and strngthened their claim to control the region, Holding such hostages would have been a serious escalation.

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  11. Bob, if it helps, I think the game would have felt the same with Old School 30mm figures. With smaller figures, it might have looked and felt slightly differently but I think it would have been just as enjoyable.

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  12. Thanks Dave, yes, it felt a bit like coming home after some long detours.

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  13. Ross, did this playtest suggest any rule changes? Or was it a confirmation that you have things the way you want them?


    -- Jeff

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  14. Ross, I sent an email to a gmail address I have for you . . . I just want to check to see if you got it.


    -- Jeff

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  15. Hi Ross,

    Absolutely loved it! I am a huge fan of the 'narrative' wargame and so this report was right up my street. It looked like a real 'pell mell' affair and the figures....oh the figures....

    Hugely inspiring - can we have some more please?

    All the best,

    DC

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  16. Thanks DC. I'm hoping for more too!

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  17. Damnation - this insult to the flag must be avenged!

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  18. I burn like all good Queen's Men to seethe vile Oberhilsers punished for this miseed.
    Awesome stuff. Makes me wish I still lived in Nova Scotia.

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  19. Conrad, Padre, the planning is going on as we type.

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